Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Race is On, Baby!

CBS has finally announced the return of the Amazing Race! The first episode is Sunday, November 4. The teams will be traveling more than 50,000 miles around the world, to countries that include Ireland, Croatia and Lithuania.

While there are 11 teams competing for the million dollar prize, only six made it into the CBS promo:
  • Grandfather and Grandson: "Goofy" airline pilot and pushy grandfather looking to make memories.
  • Couple in Conflict: He cheated. She doesn't like the way he treats her. So they're doing this--as have so many others--to see if they should get married. (Yes, she's blond and has big, um, eyes?) [Note to my blond, large . . . eyed . . .friends: This is not about you. Please don't email a slap.]
  • LA Blonds: They plan to flirt their way through the race. Because, you know, no one has tried that before. (Mee-OW!)
  • Goth Couple: They call themselves "Real-life cartoon characters." I'm taking bets on how long the makeup lasts. Hopefully, they'll lose that steamer trunk on the first leg of the trip.
  • Father and Daughter: Father is a workaholic executive; daughter is a policy analyst. They're making up for lost time, of course.
  • Lesbian Ministers: And that's pretty much how they're being promoted. But just because they're ministers doesn't mean they won't play dirty!
In the "and the rest" roles, aka: "The professor and Mary Ann" aka: "Didn't make it into the promo":
  • Brother and Sister: Both engineers; big brother/little sister complexes to overcome.
  • Dating: Volatile is the word they use to describe their three-year relationship.
  • Best Friends: Apparently they're just in it for the fun. Any bets on how long they last?
  • Sisters: "Best friends and worst enemies." But, as with so many of the other teams with a female member, they're willing to flirt their way to the front.
  • Dating for Almost One Year (No, really!): They're free-spirited and "eager to see if their relationship can stand up to the rigors of the Race."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bonus SUPER Dammit

John Tanner, voting rights section chief of the Justice Department explains that elderly minority voters are not disproportionately disenfranchised by rules requiring voter IDs because "our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do; they die first."

No really! Watch:

He made this comment on October 5, 2007. And it would appear that he still has a job.

The Weekly Dammit, #16

Dammit #1:
That this appears in News of the Weird and not the "regular" news:

"Guardsmen denied benefits
The 2,600 members of th Minnesota National Guard returned recently from extended duty in Iraq, which was reportedly the longest consecutive deployment of any outfit (22 months, counting extensions). However the the [sic] guardsmen do not qualify for government education benefits because the law allows the benefits only for those on "active duty" at least 730 days. The Minnesota Guard's orders (as well as some other outfits' orders) were specifically written for "729 days.""

Dammit #2:

I like Hillary Clinton, really, I do. But it's annoying to have everyone assume that she already has the nomination wrapped up. It means less coverage and less money for any other candidate, effectively squashing other ideas and opinions. I realize that we've moved up the primaries, but it's only October '07. There's plenty of time.

Dammit #3:
I've been trying to get Charlotte to use her name when referring to herself, or when someone asks her name. Right now, she'll say "Shasha" if prompted with "Say Charlotte!" When she woke up from her nap yesterday (yay! we're taking naps again! And by "we" I do not mean "me"), I told her to say "Charlotte." Only half awake, she replied "Charlotte." This has happened before, and it always throws me for a loop. Not that she said an actual word--she has several of those--but because it is as clear as if Hannah had said it. When I asked her again, she said "Shasha." Dammit, I do not understand apraxia.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Weekly Dammit, #15

Dammit #1:
The speech therapist says that Charlotte is apraxic. says that Charlotte might need 3-5 therapy sessions per week. The insurance company says that, if Charlotte were, say, 80 and had had a stroke, they would pay for speech therapy.

Dammit #2:
Charlotte's neurologist says to "wait and see" about the speech delay and the shaking that happens when Charlotte falls. Friends have said to go with my gut and think about getting a second opinion. My gut is a hypochondriac.

Dammit #3:
There is a second book cooking in my head, replacing the first book, which is no where close to being finished. Anti-dammit: I'm taking Wednesday nights off, so maybe I can get somewhere on one or the other. Or both!

Dammit #4:
A bunch of asses at The Wall Street Journal thought it a good idea to publish a list of people who were more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize. To which I can only say "Wow."

Dammit #5:
Stephen Colbert has thrown his hat into the ring. That's right--he has declared his candidacy for president in the 2008 election. I love Stephen Colbert. He's a very, very funny man. Also a very smart one. And while I'm not sure he's qualified to be President, an awful lot of people would like to have a beer with him, and that seems to have done the trick once before.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Video

Very long, but well worth it. Warning: Do not drink or eat while watching. Your computer screen will thank you.

Jeff Dunham W/ Dead Terrorist - Click here for another funny movie.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Quote for the Day

I found this on ZenHabits, not always true, but funny nonetheless:

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city."
--George Burns

A Book is Born--Review

Through a random and completely unscientific sampling of people I’ve met over the past 10 years, there are at least 156 million people in the US writing books, with some 32,490,421 of them actively working on their manuscripts. Many of these writers never expect to be published. In fact, many of them have no idea how to go about breaking into an industry that seems to be dominated by the same 100 authors.

But help is on the way! To be released in November 2007, A Book is Born—24 authors tell all offers hope to budding authors in general, mom authors in particular.

The book’s editor and publisher, Nancy Cleary of Wyatt-MacKenzie Books, a specialty publisher focusing on mom authors, is also publisher for all the writers who contributed to A Book is Born. And while there’s a good representation of the mommy theme (single parenting, working mothers), her authors have also written books about depression and mental illness; about being an Army wife; cooking; dieting; and infertility.

Though it gets off to a bumpy start, A Book is Born proves itself a treasure trove of information for anyone writing, or thinking about writing, a book. Every chapter includes ruminations by the authors, from the general “What inspired you to write this book?” to the more introspective “What did you do the moment you found out that you were going to be published?” and on to the all-important, “How hard is it to actually sell a book?”

Each chapter also includes Tech Talk and Tech Tips, sections designed to acquaint the newbie author with industry lingo as well as providing a way to work through questions such as:
• What are my publishing options?
• Do I need to hire an agent?
• What is an indexer and do I need one?
• What does a PR agent really do?

A Book is Born also offers tips on:
• How to market your book
• How to calculate your ROI
• How to put Amazon to work for you

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, A Book is Born includes examples of how much two different authors paid to market their books and how much they netted in the first year after publication. It’s a stark reminder that, for most of us, writing truly is a labor of love. No pun intended.

In spite of the wealth of information A Book is Born offers, I was initially preoccupied with a quiet prayer of thanks that no one was going to make me drink every time the “birthing” metaphor was employed. And with so many authors, it is perhaps to be expected that the writing would be uneven, especially as some authors are clearly better at it than others. But hang in there, because there truly is a lot of valuable information to be found. If you really want to get published, A Book is Born offers hope that there are ways to make it happen.

Click here to pre-order your copy of A Book is Born—24 authors tell all.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Only Partly Because I'm Being Lazy . . .

But mostly because not enough of you read our most excellent chicken blog, UrbanChickens, 99.99999% of which is researched, observed and written by Thomas. It's so good, he was twice invited to be a guest on Spark, a production of CBC Radio!

But here's the lazy part: Thomas is away so I wrote one post. (He's been gone for a week now. Only one post. Bad Mel.) Here's the first paragraph--you'll have to go see the chickens to read the rest.
Houdini's Chickens
It's a little known fact* that, for relaxation between performances and travel, Harry Houdini kept a flock of chickens at his home in New York. These were not your ordinary chickens. Gifted with an intellect to rival that of a Jack Russell terrier, they carefully observed Mr Houdini's practice sessions which, fortunately, were held in the back yard. Through this careful observation, the chickens were able to learn and, eventually, master his tricks. Of course, in accordance with Mr Houdini's early practice, they kept his secrets, passing them only to succeeding generations.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Weekly Dammit, #14

Dammit #1:
Danica McKellar, most famous for her role as Winnie on The Wonder Years, took a time out from Hollywood to go to UCLA, where she majored in math--graduating summa cum laude. From her web site (where you can also get math tutoring from Danica herself):
While she was [at UCLA], she even co-authored a math proof - new research proving an original math theorem - highly unusual for an undergraduate. In fact, she was the only undergraduate invited to speak at Rutgers University's biannual Statistical Mechanics conference a few years back, and she was featured in the Science section of the NY Times on July 19th, 2005.
Her latest venture: She's co-author of Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail. Released in August, it's already ranked at 75 on Amazon. The book is aimed at girls 9-12, but since I suck at math (and don't want my girls to), I ordered it.

So who do we hear about day in and out? Lindsey and Paris (aka SLRG) and all of their little friends. Why? Why do we need to know who is releasing a new version of eau de skank? Let's show our daughters a better role model: Danica is talented, beautiful AND smart. Looks like a winner to me.

Dammit #2:
Dammit #1 notwithstanding, I actually felt sorry for Paris on the David Letterman show. So is the dammit because Dave was incredibly rude to his guest, when she was clearly about to cry? Or because I felt bad for her? Surprise Dammit: I’m going with option 1. Dave was an ass. It's one thing to mock someone for her bad choices (and arrogance?) and quite another to do it while she is with you, sitting in front of a large studio audience and a much, much larger viewing audience.